- Reference number
- Mengs, Anton Rafael (German)
- The Adoration of the Shepherds
- Ca. 1770
- Madera de roble
- 256 cm x 190 cm
- On display
- Colección Real (Palacio Real, Madrid, [1ª] pieza de vestir, 1814-1818, s.n.).
A group of shepherds surround the Virgin and Child with different expressions of adoration, defining a broad semicircle which includes Saint Joseph, who is seated, and the painter himself, who appears at the left, pointing out the miraculous event.
This work is directly inspired by La Notte (Dresden, Gemäldegalerie), a painting on the same subject by Correggio (1493-1534) that was very influential among eighteenth-century painters. The composition reveals a profound study of perspective and of illumination. It uses a strong play of lights and shadows marked by the light emitted by the Christ Child, which defines the other volumes.
The success of Correggio's composition and its impact on Mengs is proven by the existence of various replicas he made on different types of supports.